Manitoba / Caribou

Up in Flames

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A one-man pop band, Dan Snaith's Manitoba project distills everything that's breathtaking and slightly absurd about several extremist alternative-pop movements of the '90s: the jangly white-noise of classic Too Pure/Beggars Banquet records (Pram, Stereolab); freewheeling pastoralia from Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips; and the warm '60s bubblegum of prime Elephant 6 pop music. But despite the parade of influences (many of them quite clear), Snaith's productions definitely aren't simply recycling these; his tracks are vibrant and imaginative, calling on fuzzed-out guitar solos and summer-day vocals that recall a raft of solid shoegazers. And unlike a lot of top-heavy albums, Snaith saves one of the best for last: "Every Time She Turns 'Round It's Her Birthday," a rewrite of Mercury Rev's "Chasing a Bee" that does the masters proud.

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